x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dealing with the sounds of the city

Much like the police sirens that symbolise New York or the honking horns of Mumbai, Dubai has its own distinctive soundtrack.

"Silence is golden," the Tremeloes would have us believe, and never have I appreciated these three little words more than this week.

Having recently moved to a new apartment, my ears have been adjusting to the new sounds that invade my world by day and by night. Much like the police sirens that symbolise New York or the honking horns of Mumbai, Dubai has its own distinctive soundtrack. For many in Jumeirah Beach Residence or pockets of Downtown, the city's symphony is without question one of pneumatic drills and whining steel cutters. In my new marina situation, however, I seem to have inadvertently moved to an F1 racetrack.

Although I may only hear the crackled explosion of a supercar's exhaust once an evening, it never fails to startle. Fridays are a particular treat, with an impressive variety of revs, screeches and wheel-smoking 0-60 accelerations punctuating the silence of my sleepy side road. Don't get me wrong, these magnificent machines in unmissable primary colours are truly something to behold and I'll never tire of watching them lane weave from my aerial view. It's just unfortunate that the built-up towers surrounding my own provide the perfect acoustic playground.

To a great degree, I'm convinced I can manage the situation via selective hearing and I never seem to leave my yoga class or spa treatment with recollections of much noise. Equally, with sleeping or meditating - a screaming baby or low-flying A380 would be hard pressed to send me off course.

Certainly, one skill journalists rapidly develop out of necessity is the ability to concentrate no matter how disruptive the environment and I challenge you to find one hardy hack who couldn't churn out 1,000 words while sitting in the arrivals terminal of Charles de Gaulle airport.

On the flip side, there are of course times when we all fear silence - namely the hush of a crowded room after the delivery of a presentation or a joke that was destined to fall flat from the start. The list of scenarios is endless and I am guilty myself of "filling the void" and seeking to ease mutual discomfort when forced to network with strangers, or conduct interviews with particularly media-shy guests.

And so, with the weekend fast approaching, I hope in earnest to be serenaded by a pair of tuneful Myna birds perched on my balcony this Friday. In the meantime, just for good measure, I'll embark upon a game of mind over matter, and convince myself that the roar of a Bugatti breaking through the sound barrier would be equally pleasing to the ear.

rduane@thenational.ae

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